Last time, we talked about how Breath of the Wild makes use of its shrines as a short-form, handheld-friendly take on the Zelda series’ dungeoneering.
There’s another major part of the game that provides an interesting twist on this traditional aspect of the franchise, however, and that’s the Divine Beasts.
Providing significant, dramatic, story-critical challenges for Link to overcome, the Divine Beasts may, once again, be a bit of a deviation from Zelda’s previously established norms, but they’re still very cool.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 6 – A Beast of a Time
Wrecking Crew is one of Nintendo mascot Mario’s more underappreciated adventures — and a fairly underappreciated entry in the NES’ overall library, in fact.
First released for Famicom in June of 1985 and subsequently as one of the 17 launch titles for the Western Nintendo Entertainment System, Wrecking Crew is something of a departure from what you might typically expect from a Mario game — even outside of the main Super Mario Bros. series.
It’s a puzzle game with a strong emphasis on strategic thinking and forward planning rather than fast action or precise platforming, and it’s actually been one of my favourite games in the NES’ library since I first encountered it via the Wii’s Virtual Console service. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Wrecking Crew
Our Final Fantasy I adventure continues as the Warriors of Light cross the ocean to Elfheim and discover their prince is having a bit of a sleep problem.
Never ones to shy away from an apparently supernatural-inflicted disaster, the group sets out to find out exactly what is going on, setting their sights on the first full dungeon of the game: The Marsh Cave!
In this episode, we start to see some more of the Dungeons & Dragons influences at work as well as how the game expects you to explore rather than leading you down a linear path. A bit of an adjustment if you’re accustomed to some modern JRPGs, for sure!
I’m not an especially active or outdoorsy type… but I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of being out in nature. You know, so long as it isn’t trying to bite, sting, cut, burn, poison crush or otherwise bring me to harm in one way or another.
Some of my fondest memories are from childhood, when I had the good fortune to be able to go camping with both my class at school and my Cub Scout pack. My most longstanding, happiest recollections of those trips do not involve the many activities we participated in — but rather simple things, such as gradually drifting off to sleep to the soothing sound of rain on canvas (occasionally punctuated by class clown Christopher Smith farting) or feeling a quiet sense of awe at the almost complete silence around us, save for the leaves on the forest’s trees rustling in the wind.
Breath of the Wild is making me extremely nostalgic for all this sort of thing. And, best of all, I don’t have to go out in the blazing hot British summer sunshine and/or torrential British rain to enjoy it.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 4 – Peace and Quiet
Now Super Mario Maker 2 has been out for a little while, we can consider certain aspects of it in greater detail — something of a necessity when contemplating an online-centric title like this!
There’s already a huge variety of levels out there for you to enjoy, with new ones being added all the time. I’ve even got in on the action with two of my own at the time of writing and more to come — check the game’s Hub Page for the codes if you want to try them!
And, of course, the game is flavour of the month for streamers and YouTubers. But I have a bit of a concern about this side of things in particular; let’s talk about that.
Continue reading Super Mario Maker 2: In Praise of “Normal”
“I wonder what’s over there” has been an aspect of game design that creators of open world games have been grappling with for some time now.
Ideally, when playing an open world game, the player should be able to find a definitive answer to “I wonder what’s over there” simply by… well, going there. “You see those mountains in the distance? You can actually go there” and all that.
Not every open world game gets this quite right, but Breath of the Wild presents an excellent example of how to do it very well indeed.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 3 – I Wonder What’s Over There
One key way in which Breath of the Wild differs from its predecessors in the Legend of Zelda series is in how it handles protagonist Link’s core abilities.
In past Zelda games, Link would typically (though not always) gradually acquire a selection of useful items over the course of his adventure, and in most cases these would correspond to the challenges in the dungeon or situation in which he found them.
In Breath of the Wild, meanwhile, you get given all of your abilities almost from the very beginning of your adventure, and then it’s up to you to spend the rest of the game figuring out all the different ways in which you can use them.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 2 – Toys of the Trade